Selling items on eBay, over the past decade ‘eBaying’ has become big business for some by revolutionising the way people shopped online. It is not just ecommerce companies selling on eBay, individuals use it as an opportunity to sell unwanted gifts and items following a clear out. You may fall into either of these categories or just want to dip your toe in to find out what eBay is all about.
They key thing to consider when selling anything on eBay is how it will get to its final destination. One of the most common forms of negative feedback is down to postage – it may have arrived damaged, the buyer may feel like you charged too much on postage or the item was just poorly packaged. Whatever the complaint, it is easy to take steps to avoid issues like this whilst they are in your control. Below are 6 top tips to help ensure your customer has a perfect postage experience with you.
- Find out the price of postage before listing the item
As important as the price you are wanting to sell your item for, you need to ensure you charge the correct amount for postage and packaging. You are well within your rights to charge not only postage amount but also your time and the cost of packaging – just make this clear in the listing. The big challenge is making your customer feel like they have value for money, so don’t charge £5 when the postage cost 99p and £1 for packaging!
There are a number of ways to find out the price for posting your item, you can work with traditional postage charts and scales and calculate a rough price, or you can go online. Most couriers now offer instant quote and booking online, all you need are the dimensions of the parcel, the weight and where it is going (generally a country is ok). Outside of going direct to couriers you can also use online brokers like Rand Logistics, who often return a price lower than going direct to the same courier.
- Research postage lead times
As with all online retail, customers are wanting their items to arrive much quicker and a purchase from eBay is no different. Make sure that you know the average time a postal service takes and the maximum time it may take. Combine this with the time it will take you to send the parcel and it will give your buyer a good indication of how long it will take for them to receive their item.
A more realistic and faster timeframe is more likely to garner interest in your listing, the worst thing to do would be to promise an item within 3 days and for it to take 7 days. Be realistic and potentially think about offering different services with varying lengths of time.
- Use the correct packaging materials
This one may sound quite straight forward but it is one of the most important things to get correct. Without good materials for packing you run the risk of items being damaged in transit and the buyer being disappointed.
Ensure you have new, sturdy cardboard boxes – if an item is heavy use a double or even triple ply box for security. Invest in bubble wrap and packing paper to make sure you can package the parcel well. One of the best places to buy packaging material is on eBay, it is often cheaper there than in other shops – even with the postage.
- Pack your item well
This tip is tied into the packaging materials that you have purchased and is another one that sounds a lot easier to do correctly then it actually is. You need to take into account a few different factors – is the item heavy, is it fragile and is it awkwardly shaped? All of these elements add a different dimension to packing correctly.
If you have a heavy item consider wrapping it in bubble wrap until it fits snuggly in the box. Around the edges fill in the gaps with your packing paper or Styrofoam, the most important thing is that the box is strong and sealed with heavy duty tape. Try to resist the urge of using lots of sellotape as more often than not it is of inadequate strength for the job.
For fragile, awkwardly shaped or multiple items the same rules apply – wrap each individual item well with bubble wrap and packing paper and fill the box you are using. Always think about how you would like to receive the item and work backwards from there.
- Clear Labels
Possibly the most embarrassing thing to do after getting all the above steps right would be to send it to the wrong place. eBay and PayPal both allow you to print a packing label, as will any courier website. This is the easiest way to ensure the item is being sent to the correct place.
- Keep the buyer up to date
Finally, if you are happy that the parcel is well packaged and that it should arrive to the customer in a good condition, keep the buyer up to date. Let them know when it has been dispatched, send a tracking number (if you have one) and if there are any delays be up front and let the customer know. A little bit of effort goes a long way and if they leave a detailed piece of positive feedback it should help you when you sell your next item.
eBay has opened up a number of opportunities for people and taking your time to ensure items you sell arrive safely is key to the success you will have. Good luck with your auction.
Article provided by Rand Logistics, a market leading online parcel broker offering a vast array of UK and International courier services.